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ICCHNR presentation Synopsis 2 – Sandra Smith

10th November 2015

Here is the fifth in a series of Voices blogs (and the second one from Sandra) from some of our Associate members who were able to join online with the 6th International Conference on Community Health Nursing Research (ICCHNR) which took place in Seoul in South Korea between 19-21 August.

The iHV was delighted to be able to support 5 health visitors to join the online streaming of the conference proceedings. We then asked them to write up a synopsis of one of the presentations that interested them to share with all our followers.

Sandra Smith FiHV – Synopsis of Transforming the education and training of the clinical professional; delivering maternal and child healthcare in Malawi

Thursday 20th August – Special Session 2

This project is a collaboration between the University of Malawi and the University of Edinburgh around specialist maternal and child health programmes in medicine and nursing.

The overall aim of the project is:

  • To improve curriculum content and delivery
  • Enhance quality assurance processes
  • To reduce high maternal, neonatal and child mortality

The aim of the presentation was to demonstrate how programme innovation has the potential to improve curriculum delivery. And to enable health professionals to work towards meeting Malawi’s maternal, neonatal and child health needs, and to illustrate how working in partnership to exchange knowledge and skills has developed online resources to support learning.

Malawi is situated in the south-east part of Africa, with a population of 15 million.  It has high maternal, neonatal and infant mortality rates:

  • Maternal Mortality 675/100,000 births
  • Neonatal Mortality 31/1000 live births
  • Infant mortality 66/1000 live births

Against this health need, the comparative number of healthcare workers per 1000 population in Malawi and UK is:

Doctors Nurses and Midwives
UK 2.74 per 1000 10.1 per 1000
Malawi 0.02 per 1000 0.3 per 1000

Given these high mortality rates there is an urgent need for advances in medical, nursing and midwifery practitioners and by implementing innovative education and training.

The project does this by implementing online learning whereby specialist knowledge and skills can be increased and linked more closely with practice, and by creating a bespoke Moodle platform called PG connect which hosts videos, discussion boards and interactive tools.

The project required improved IT infrastructure – a new server, PCs for students, staff development in e-assessment and the use of e-learning, and the development of online modules through partnership.

This project has enabled advanced practice through direct patient care, enhanced leadership and provided advocacy on various issues pertaining to maternal and child healthcare.

Ongoing data will be collected from 10 identified health facilities.  Maternal and child health indicators include: antenatal attendances; maternal complications and deaths; obstetric complications; newborn complications including prematurity.

Short-term data

Student and teacher evaluation was collected through focus groups, quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews.

Long-term data

Data will be collected over 10 years to show the impact of increased maternal and child health specialist education on maternal and child health indicators.


  • Lack of funding for scholarships as students cannot support themselves
  • Poor internet connectivity
  • Low income and resource poor health and educational environments

Sandra Smith FiHV

Sandra Smith FiHV

Sandra Smith FiHV

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